Weekend Picks: ‘Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,’ ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,’ ‘Safe House,’ and ‘The Vow’

Adam Pockross
Movie Talk

Last weekend, "Chronicle" put mind over matter and eked out a narrow box-office victory over Daniel Radcliffe's shriekfest, "The Woman in Black." Both flicks will need some supernatural services to stay ahead of the competition, as every film opening this weekend is a strong contender for the top spot.

Four major releases are going wide this weekend, offering a little something for nearly every type of moviegoer. From stunning special effects to unlikely love stories, from CIA master spies to Jedi Knights, no matter what you choose, you're sure to be taken on a fantastic journey. With so many super selections, we boil down the choices below and note the kinds of fans who will most enjoy each flick.

'Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace'

Rated PG for sci-fi action/violence.

What's the Story?
Before Luke and Vader, there was Anakin. The first episode of the prequel follows a young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his Jedi mentor Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), who help defend Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) and the Naboo people from the evils of the greedy Trade Federation. Along the way, they meet a young slave, Anakin (Jake Lloyd), whom Qui-Gon believes is destined to bring balance to the Force. But before there can be balance, Anakin must be trained as a Jedi, the Naboo people must be saved, and the interplanetary trade dispute must be resolved.

Who Will Dig It?
Fans of the greatest sci-fi saga of all time, incredible 3D special effects, action/adventure, and prequels should force their way into the theater for this one.

See showtimes for 'The Phantom Menace' >>

'Journey 2: The Mysterious Island'

Rated PG for some adventure action and brief mild language.

What's the Story?
Would-be adventurer Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) intercepts a coded signal that he believes is a clue from his long-lost intrepid grandfather Alexander (Michael Caine). Sean's stepfather, Hank Kyle (Dwayne Johnson), helps crack the code and reluctantly agrees to accompany Sean on a far-fetched quest to find Sean's grandfather and a mysterious island alluded to in some literary classics. When the helicopter they charter goes down, Sean and Hank, along with the helicopter pilot and his daughter, find out just what fantastic mysteries the island holds.

Who Will Dig It?
If you like Rock-solid action, high-flying adventure, and amazing 3D special effects, then you should journey to the IMAX and get lost in this film.

See showtimes for 'Journey 2' >>

'Safe House'
Rated R for strong violence throughout and some language.

What's the Story?
Rogue CIA agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), one of the most wanted men in the world, walks into an American consulate looking to unload some explosive intel. Frost is moved to a safe house run by action-deprived CIA newbie Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). When the safe house is compromised by brutal mercenaries looking for Frost, Weston gets all the action he can handle, as he must figure out who is after them, whom he can trust, and how he and Frost are going to stay alive.

Who Will Dig It?
Folks who like spy webs, thoughtful thrillers, and action/adventure flicks should get out of the house and go spy this flick.

See showtimes for 'Safe House' >>

'The Vow'
Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity, and some language.

What's the Story?
Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams) are newlywed artists living happily ever after in Chicago. When a terrible accident causes Paige to lose all memory of Leo, he must find a way to get his wife to fall in love with him again. Unfortunately for Leo, Paige remembers her ex-fiancé and her former life as a promising law student and can't figure out why she would have given it up to lead the life of an artist with him.

Who Will Dig It?
Anyone who loves love, romance, amnesiac drama, and movies based on true stories should make a solemn oath to go see this flick.

See showtimes for 'The Vow' >>